by Sr. Shirley Krull
Grounding and Wings
The LCWR 2012 Winter Occasional Papers has an article Religious Life Evolving. The interviewees used the words: dialogue, community, contemplation, discernment and laity many times.
This led me to reflect on the evolving of the Wheaton Franciscan Religious life using these words in relationship to the experiences we have had that have been a part of my community life. This begins with the rich liturgical renewals during the leadership time of Sister Florina. My next experience in the evolving of community life was with the Better World Movement experiences that were held at our motherhouse during the time of the leadership of Sister Fidelis. Then there was the vigorous work done on renewal through the writing of constitutions during the leadership time of Sister Virginia Mary where the words dialogue, community, contemplation, discernment were not only in our daily practice, but were also written into our documents. We enfleshed, along with our ministry partners, the philosophy of human and community development in our various ministries during the leadership times of Sister Thomas and following leadership groups. The creation of the corporate system strengthened again our call to work with our lay brothers and sisters during the leadership time of Sister Mariette. We have offered ourselves for our contemplative life through the deepening of our understanding of our Christ consciousness during the leadership times of all our leadership groups, but especially during recent times because of the increased understanding of the evolving of our universe and our vital role in this evolution. And we continue in our practice of discernment and dialogue in our recent learning experiences of Circle process during the times of our recent leadership groups.
Our particular charism has evolved from the strong life of Clara Pfaender, our foundress, through the establishment of our various congregational provinces; from the death of the five Sisters on the Deutschland, whose bodies are buried in England and whose spirit is alive in the American province, the destination they physically never reached.
All of our conscious life is an evolving of the Life of Christ. I read Pere Pierre Teilhard de Chardin writings again and again. They help me to come to an understanding and appreciation of the evolution of the Christ consciousness. I find his writings assist me to evolve the spirit and writings of Francis and Clare. From The Divine Milieu: “If your work enthralls you, then allow the spiritual impulse for God whom you know better and desire more under the veil of his works. Never, at any time, 'whether eating or drinking', consent to do anything without first of all realizing its significance and constructive value in Christo Jesu, and pursuing it with all your might.”
The title Grounding and Wings for me is the feeling that evolving gives me. Knowing that the Franciscan life in Wheaton is the grounding of my being and that from paying attention to the daily experiences, in as far as I can, gives me the wings from that grounding that takes me to the ministry of the joy of meeting the world and offering blessing.